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U.K.-born, L.A.-based producer/DJ, Chris Barratt — aka – Eagles & Butterflies breaks all boundaries across the electronic music spectrum. His productions flow seamlessly through downtempo, techno, house and beyond, with releases on Innervisions, Bedrock, Exit Strategy, Sapiens and his own imprint Art Imitating Life. From remixing Underworld, RY X, Agoria, Moby, Andhim and Ludovico Einaudi, Eagles & Butterflies is the newest toast of the underground.
We recently had a great chat with him during his Christmas break where he is spending most of his time either in the studio or surfing near his home in LA. It looks like 2018 is set to be another busy year for Chris with new tracks coming out like his remix for WhoMadeWho, an EP with John Digweed, and a new radio show. Plus, he’ll also be playing a host of exciting gigs starting with Cityfox’s New Year’s Marathon fest in Brooklyn.
Electronic Groove: Thanks for taking the time out of your studio schedule for us. What’s getting you excited to produce these days?
Eagles & Butterflies: No problem, my pleasure. I love making techno but my real passion is working with live music; singers and songwriters. I turn down 90% of the remixes requests I get because I want stuff that is a song with lyrics. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t, but I don’t want to put it out unless it works 100%. It’s easy to do a remix but less is more, unless I can make something special then I won’t do it.
Electronic Groove: Speaking of live acts, you recently had a release for RX Y ‘Endless Love’ which is amazing. This is the second time you’ve remixed his work, the first being ‘Deliverance’ which was huge last year. How did you end up working with RX Y?
Eagles & Butterflies: I heard ‘Deliverance’ and loved it so I made a bootleg while at an airport somewhere. We had never met but I sent it to him and he loved it. He’s originally Australian but it turns out he lives down the road from me and now we go surfing together as well. He’s a real breath of fresh air, such a super cool guy. He’s my favorite artist in electronic music. He lives and breathes what he does and that translates into his music.
Electronic Groove: What’s your approach to remixing a song with lyrics? Is it to make it dancefloor ready?
Eagles & Butterflies: When I remix RX Y tracks I remake the whole track and just use the vocals. He asked me if I wanted to try remixing ‘Bad Love’ which was 156BPM; a lot faster than ‘Deliverance’. It took a few months and I made 15 different versions until I got the one I wanted. I didn’t intend to make it a club track but now I close many of my sets with it.
“My passion is production – I love DJing and touring but they are two totally separate things”
Electronic Groove: What’s your view on DJing versus production, and how do you keep a balance?
Eagles & Butterflies: My passion is production – I love DJing and touring but they are two totally separate things. Nowadays it’s incredibly difficult if you aren’t making records to get recognized as a DJ, except for a few exceptions which are a rare breed like Job Jobse. If DJ’s aren’t producing then they are able to focus the whole time on searching for records, and if you are always in the studio you can’t find the time to dig for records. It’s all about having a balance. There are so many different parts to what you see from an artist on a Facebook post, like the mastering engineers, etc.
Electronic Groove: Speaking of Facebook, what is your take on social media?
Eagles & Butterflies: It has pros and cons; it can really help to break an artist into the scene, but also vice versa. You have to take it with a pinch of salt. If you make underground music you shouldn’t get caught up in it, it’s all smoke and mirrors. If you make commercial music, then it might be a better tool for you. I generally don’t think promoters will book you based on how many likes you have. People recording videos is the worst part because they share the tracks and then sets aren’t authentic anymore, because people may already hear the secret track you want to play. But it can also make records big like when Dekmantel shared my track when Dixon was playing it.
Electronic Groove: How is the label (Art Imitating Life) going?
Eagles & Butterflies: It’s being taken care of by Muting the Noise. I only release my own stuff on there – it’s a concept I wanted to do that is fresh, limited vinyl. Getting my releases on vinyl is the best feeling, and it makes me super happy. I don’t work with a lot of labels so this is a good outlet for me. I don’t care if my tracks are in the top ten of Beatport or number 50, having them on vinyl is much more special. It has a lot more creativity, also with the covers of the album.
Electronic Groove: Tell us about the new radio show you are working on?
Eagles & Butterflies: I used to do Data Transmission but it was a lot of work so I stopped but I wanted to start again, with maybe more leftfield stuff, more of a radio show. Just music that I like and you wouldn’t hear in a regular mix. I don’t like doing mixes anymore, people are obsessed with unreleased music but if you do a mix you can’t put unreleased stuff in it. So this radio show will be a fun outlet. It will start in January on iTunes and maybe it will get syndicated later on.
“Getting my releases on vinyl is the best feeling”
Electronic Groove: 2017 is about to come to an end, what were your stand out moments?
Eagles & Butterflies: Definitely playing at Coachella. I had always wanted to play there, growing up in the UK I’d hear about it and saw so many live artists I liked playing there. It was an amazing experience. Also playing on the terrace of DC10 for Circoloco. Everyone that plays there is a DJ that has been on that dance floor over the years, so the vibe is great. Awakenings in Amsterdam was also awesome.
Electronic Groove: You’ll be ending your year with the Cityfox crew in Brooklyn, have you played there before?
Eagles & Butterflies: I’ve played for them a few times, like last Christmas day in Zurich, but never at Avant Gardner. I’ve heard good things about the venue, the line-up is incredible, really looking forward to it!
Electronic Groove: I’m sure it’s going to be amazing! Have fun and thanks for catching up. The EG team will keep their ears open for all your new stuff in 2018!
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